Closes 1/22/2021: SHSJC Launches New Course: JAC 453 Gaming and Virtual Reality Production

HAMPTON, Va. (January 21, 2021) – Hampton University students have 24 hours to enroll in one of the most exciting courses being offered at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications (SHSJC).

JAC 453 Gaming and Virtual Reality Production is a new course being taught in the new Augmented and Virtual Reality Lab in the Scripps Howard School Building in Room 148.

"Within the past four days, some of the media industry's top companies have tapped on our doors looking for creative talent," Scripps Howard School Dean B. DàVida Plummer said. "While students are in remote learning, I want to amplify the call for them to take advantage of the skills we are teaching that can lead to exciting careers."

Students taking JAC 453 with Scripps Howard Endowed Professor Willie Moore are among the first to utilize the lab, and there are a few spots left. Registration for this course will be open until January 22.

"The students who are already in the class are really excited about all the different things they will get to do this semester," Moore said.

The course features Augmented Reality, 3D motion, 3D content for gaming, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, animation paint and sound mixing. Last fall, SHSJC partnered with EON Reality to bring students the Augmented Virtual and Reality Lab to further enhance the school's already celebrated Center for Innovation in Digital Media. The Digital Innovation and Gaming Studio course joins Animation and Motion Graphics, Web Design and Production, Social and Multimedia Analytics, and Advanced Media Analytics as courses taught through the Center for Innovation. Augmented Reality, or AR, is the simple combination of real and virtual, or computer-generated, objects. AR provides an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated graphics and text. There are computers that will render HD graphics, animations and video, along with a virtual reality display measuring 8 feet tall by 40 feet wide to immerse the entire classroom in the experience.

The day of a West Coast student attending Hampton virtually

By: Joann Njeri

(JAC 210 assignment for Prof. Waltz)

Ross Watkins frantically jumped out of bed scared that he had overslept for his first class. It was 5:30 a.m., which meant he had less than 30 minutes to get ready.

Watkins' computer science class began at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, when he would normally physically attend classes at Hampton University on the East Coast.

But in California, where he is currently residing, Watkins was three hours behind, blurry eyed and fuzzy brained after just three hours of sleep.

With no time to shower, Watkins threw on a button-up polo shirt to be 'presentable' for class, then opened his laptop, logged onto Zoom, and gave a big smile as his name was called for attendance.

Welcome to a day in the life of a typical West Coast Hampton University student in Fall 2020. In response to COVID-19, Hampton University began its Fall 2020 semester online and early on August 10, and plans to close for winter break on November 20th.

According to the Hampton University Registrar office, about 40% of the student body is from the West Coast, and the majority of these students are enrolled in the School of Business.

Watkins, a strategic communication major from Los Angeles, struggles with virtual classes in a different time zone and is constantly exhausted.

When he talked to other West Coast students and found they were having similar experiences, he started a petition, asking the university to make allowances for the time differences.

Now, Watkins has over 900 signatures and hopes to have 2,000 by October. If enough students protest the hardships of the time zone differences, the University may have to accommodate them.

"I hate having to wake up at insane hours just to open a computer," Watkins said.

His grades have dropped significantly, and he has a hard time prioritizing his workload along with staying focused. He is not alone.

"I have to be very conscious in remembering that my homework is not due at midnight. It's due at 11:00 p.m.," said Alex Harmon, a second-year business major from St. Louis, Missouri.

Throughout the semester, Harmon has turned in multiple late assignments because he turned in his homework at midnight in the central time zone.

"The time zone is affecting my grades because I have less time to do assignments," Harmon said. "I am not a morning person, so I scheduled my classes at a later time just to have them pushed an hour earlier because of the time difference."

Harmon is frustrated, feeling that students residing in a different location such as the Midwest or West Coast should be given extensions to deadlines.

"This disadvantage either makes me sleepy during class or I miss class altogether," said DessRae Lampkins, a second-year chemical engineering major from St. Louis, Missouri.

Lampkins has an attendance rate of 80% due to accidentally sleeping through some of her classes. She admits that she forgets her school follows the Eastern time zone, and it is negatively impacting her grade.

"Imagine waking up at 5:00 a.m. to attend 9:00 a.m. classes in addition to having your homework due at 11:59 p.m. which is actually 9:00 p.m. if you live on the West Coast," said Genea'Vi Smith, a second-year psychology major residing in Los Angeles, California.

"I feel like I am being punished for living in California!"

Like Watkins and Lampkins, Smith also complained of a lack of sleep, so she asks every teacher to record class sessions.

"Even if it may not be beneficial to you, it could significantly impact someone else. I know that I am always going back and watching recorded lectures."

Lampkins is sick of the virtual semester and hopes classes will resume physically in the Spring 2021 semester.

"Can we please make more classes so time zones can be accommodated and there will be less homework?" Lampkins asked.

Later class times will help students function more efficiently, they said.

A lack of physical academic support is also a problem.The distance from classmates is difficult and virtual study groups are not as beneficial.

Another common hurdle is the mind-numbing routine of constantly staring at computer screens.

"Teachers need to try and make the classes more interactive. It's hard to stay engaged when staring at your screen for an hour while being lectured," said Harmon.

Also, with the Fall 2020 semester being cut short, professors have to condense course information into a shorter time frame.

Students are pleading for their professors to understand the challenges that come with a virtual, and shortened, semester.

"Stop trying to make us turn on the cameras. We are virtually learning. Why do you want to see my face? What is it that you're trying to see that I'm doing? It seems like teachers are trying to be dictators and not everyone has a fancy laptop with camera and audio," said Imani Johnson, a junior liberal studies major from Chicago, Illinois.

"A lot of classes want you to turn your camera on and look presentable. So, you have to still get ready even though classes are virtual. This makes you have to wake up usually an hour before class."

Some professors are making allowances. Professors in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism, such as Lynn Waltz and Christopher Underation, have given out their cell phone numbers on the syllabus and have advised students that text is a great method of communication.

As night begins to fall, Watkins prepares for bed with a sense of optimism. He feels better knowing that he is not the only one having a hard time

Back to School in Northville Amid COVID-19

By Sierra Steele (JAC 210 assignment for Prof. Waltz)

As most kids are opening their laptops and preparing for zoom lectures, some middle schoolers and high schoolers at Northville Public Schools (NPS) are dusting off their backpacks for in-person classes starting Oct. 2.

"I never thought I would be this excited to go back to school," said Northville High School (NHS) Sophomore Victoria Winfield. Northville Schools have been operating remotely online since Sept. 8 due to safety concerns over COVID-19.

Now, high school and middle school students will get to choose whether they want to attend in-person classes every other day, continue learning virtually or put together a hybrid of the two.

"I'm honestly impressed with NPS for giving families the option to choose what works best for them," NHS alumni Sophie Kenward said. "There is no one size fits all and I can't imagine being a child experiencing all of this."

Students and parents say they are torn between excitement for the new year and concern over the virus.

Still, it's not a simple choice.

Many parents are putting aside their fears about the virus and focusing on the impact of virtual learning on the mental and social wellbeing of their children.

"My daughter needs socialization," said school board candidate and parent Sherrie Winfield. "I understand people's concerns, I have my own too, but I have to think about what is best for my child right now."

Some students need in-person instruction more than others, according to the education specialists of McKinsey & Company. Students entering a new phase of education such as kindergarteners, 9th graders, and students transitioning out of high school need in-person training more than the general student population.

"My son is very introverted," said parent Ceresa Hayes. "It's his freshman year, and I want him to experience some in-person instruction so that he can have a smooth transition into high school."

Children who require childcare, special education students, homeless students, English as a second language students, students in abusive environments and those without access to the internet are high priority for in-person learning.

As a result, NPS opted for a full in-person return for special education students and elementary school students.

Fewer than half (43.6%) of parents wanted a full-time in-person start, according to a district wide survey, while about three in ten (29.6%) wanted a hybrid start and 26.8% wanted full-time virtual learning.

"I think it's a bad idea for students to go back in person full time because there are still so many cases and so many at risk people. I think right now hybrid classes are a good compromise," said NHS alumnus Audrey Schikora .

As of August, nearly all Michigan counties meet school reopening standards, including maintaining a 14-day average daily infection rate below 5%.

Teachers are nervous either way.

"I can see both sides of the argument. As a future teacher, I would definitely be worried about my health and the health of my students during this time, so I'd definitely be nervous to be in a classroom right now," said Special Education and Elementary Education major and NHS alumni Riley Huggins. "On the other hand, I know that many parents have to work and don't have someone to watch their kids."

According to McKinsey Global Institute, the increased burden of unpaid childcare inflicted by the pandemic is a significant factor in women's rising level of unemployment.

There are also concerns about mental health issues as students are isolated.

"I've gone through a real depression since quarantine, and it sucks being stuck in my room trying to participate through a screen. It's probably way worse for kids," said NHS alumni and Michigan State University student Jayson James.

Based upon the state's current rates of COVID-19 cases and testing, school districts in most Michigan counties can safely reopen for class instruction.

The city of Northville is at Phase 4 of the MI State Start Plan: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's plan to re-engage Michigan's economy.

Phase 4 is considered to be in the "improving phase" where cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to the virus are clearly declining.

The state requires students sixth grade and up to wear face coverings in classrooms and other common areas during the school day. A new executive order taking effect on Oct. 5 will require the use of masks for elementary school children in classrooms in all regions at Phase 4.

The district will also be following its 'NPS COVID-19 Preparedness and Reentry Plan' and the 'NPS Extended Continuity of Learning Plan' outlining current operational and instructional plans, both approved by the Board of Education.

"I guess I am kind of excited to go back to school in person. I'm just really curious how things would work," said high school freshman Samir Steele. "But at the same time, I don't want to be around people because of Corona."

Charlotte Students Virtually Getting By – Barely

By Nyle Paul (JAC 210 assignment for Prof. Waltz)

Imagine trying to complete an important writing assignment that is due at 11:59 p.m., and the schoolwork submission portal completely shuts down for the rest of the day.

That has been the reality for students in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District since it shifted to virtual learning to protect students from COVID-19.

After initially letting students opt-in or out of virtual learning, the district went fully virtual one week before classes were scheduled to begin. The abrupt shift has students, teachers, administrations, and especially technical staff, scrambling to patch things together.

The first week of school was filled with technical difficulties, schedule uncertainties, and multiple phone calls.

The YMCA's School + program, where students come to attend their online classes, has tried to fill in the gaps and support students who are frustrated and discouraged.

From incorrect schedules, to lost zoom links and submission portals, to overwhelmed servers, nearly everything went wrong. Students who were new to the school didn't have their teachers' names or class schedules.

Chromebooks were glitching. The Canvas portal, which stores all of the students' class zoom links and submission slots, was down due to the high usage of the server, which provides internet to numerous school districts within North Carolina.

IT difficulties are plaguing schools across the nation. With schools swiftly switching to online, there has not been time to adequately test for the performance of IT servers under high usage volume. As a result, servers malfunctioned.

"As a district, we do not practice e-learning a whole lot," said Thomas Nawrocki, executive director of IT at Charleston County School District, said. "Once they started talking about teachers sending lessons via Google Drive or Google Meets, we had to act pretty quick."

The district uses an interface for teachers to post assignments and grades, but it has had problems as well. "I have had some difficulties with turning my work in on time due to the Canvas portal malfunctioning," said Peyton Paul, a 10-grade student enrolled in CMS.

Some of the IT issues stem from at-home difficulties.

"There were probably about 12 to 15 million students that did not have internet access at all," said educational digital divide researchers Nicol Turner Lee.

Some blame the school district for being unprepared.

"I do not believe that CMS prepared themselves to operate successfully in the virtual learning shift," said Stephanie Nelson, a parent to a high schooler enrolled in CMS. "It does not seem like they ran tests on the programs to ensure that there would be no major issues like what we're experiencing. I understand that this is new for CMS, but better preparation could have been taken."

The virtual learning tools are confusing to both students and teachers.

"The way that the schedules are set up is confusing. Logging in and out of zoom is confusing as well. The teachers do not really know how to operate all of the programs, either" said Jazmine Higgins, a 10th grader enrolled in CMS. "There are many times where we are helping the teachers navigate through the programs."

Still, some students find the virtual learning shift to be a relief.

"I enjoy not being in the in-person environment because I have the freedom to do more things, however I do think that this virtual learning shift has made me a little lax," said Peyton Paul.

At the YMCA School + program, counselors are concerned that students are losing focus and motivation. When the school technology fails, some students shift their attention to YouTube, TikTok, and many other social media and gaming sites, one counselor said. When the virtual learning portal is running smooth, the students are more engaged in their classes and schoolwork.

"It is now going into the 4th week of school for CMS," one counselor said. "Some progress has been made since the first week of school, but CMS still has a long way to go."

African American History Matters, Now Offered in Virginia Public Schools

By Jordan Sheppard

(JAC 310 assignment for Prof. Waltz)

Starting this fall, high school students in Prince William County in Virginia can take a new elective course to learn more about African American history.

"Black history is American history, but for too long the story we have told was insufficient and inadequate," said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in a press release. "The introduction of this groundbreaking course is a first step toward our shared goal of ensuring all Virginia students have a fuller, more accurate understanding of our history, and can draw important connections from those past events to our present day.

Northam announced the course last month, after working with the Virginia African American History Education Commission revising the state's curriculum to include more African American history. Since August of 2019, the Virginia Department of Education, Virtual Virginia and WHRO Public Media have teamed up with history professors, teachers, and historians to create the course, which will be offered in 16 school districts.

They include the counties of Prince William, Alleghany, Amherst, Arlington, Carroll, Chesterfield, Covington, Franklin, Henrico, Henry, Loudon, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Winchester.

Beginning with pre-colonial Africa, the course will cover the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Movement, and other events to the present day.

"As a Black woman, an African American history class is not just a class, it is a guide to help you move through life," said Ayele Aziaba, a former Unity Reed High School student. "Had I been educated in school about my ancestors and their struggles and achievements, that would have given me a great insight, but I had to learn most of what I know now through experiences as a black woman."

Students will not be required to take the course, a controversial aspect.

"It should be a required class so students will understand how important African Americans are to this country, a country which we built," said Vera Bordoh-Ansah, a former Unity Reed High School student. "By it being optional, only those interested will take this class and our history should not be something you want to learn, but something that you need to learn."

The course comes at a time of increased interest in Black history. Black Lives Matter protests across the country have encouraged conversations about race in America.

"I think what is going on right now played a factor in why we have this course," said Verita Bordoh-Ansah, a former Unity Reed High School student. "The protests are forcing people to acknowledge and open their eyes to what is really going on in this county."

To some, a course on African American history is one that has been long overdue.

"This is a good start, but classes on African American history should have been in the curriculum a while ago," said Maiyah Rawls, first-year student at Unity Reed High School.

After taking the course students should be able to:

  • Identify and understand African origins and developments of the Black experience in North America.
  • Evaluate how African Americans have shaped, contributed to and have been shaped by the institutions, policies, and laws established by federal, state, and local governments.
  • Evaluate and interpret the various paths of civic responsibility that led to quests for equality, justice, and freedom for individuals and communities facing barriers and oppression based on race, class, and gender.
  • Analyze and understand how the institution of slavery in the United States shaped beliefs about race and the supremacy of one race over another and influences America's economy and politics.

Some believe the course should be expanded.

"We have to consider that most history courses in school systems fall under "social studies", an extremely broad term," said Kendall Willis, junior at University of Virginia and former Unity Reed High School student. "It would be more beneficial to not just teach the history but to explore the social science perspectives in African American history."

At the end of the course, each student will be required to complete a capstone project based on independent research about African American history.

"Without the arms, legs, blood, sweat and tears of the African American man and woman, there would be no architecture, infrastructure or strong standing economy," said Verita Bordah-Ansah. "African Americans were essential in making the foundation of this country."

NYU MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media program and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute

Join the information session to learn about NYU MS in Publishing: Digital and Print Media program and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, as well as information on new scholarship opportunities for the Summer Publishing Institute. NYU is excited to announce the Carolyn Kroll Reidy Scholarship for students from underrepresented backgrounds as part of the session.

Our upcoming online information sessions will take place on October 7, 2020 at 6:00pm EST and on November 17, 2020 at 6:00pm EST . Details and RSVP links for both of these sessions are below.

The MS in Publishing: Digital & Print Media program is a 42-credit graduate program at the NYU School of Professional Studies, now in its 24th year, for recent college graduates. We are now accepting applications for spring and fall 2021.

The NYU Summer Publishing Institute is a renowned six-week summer program for rising seniors and recent college graduates. In 2021, the program will run from June 7th to July 16th. (Note, for the fourth year, we are opening the program to rising college seniors.) The Priority Deadline for SPI applications is February 1, 2021.

Interested students can learn about both of these programs at our upcoming information sessions.

Online Information Session on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 6:00pm EST (RSVP here)

Online Information Session on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 6:00pm EST (visit our website.

Project HBCU Goes to Baltimore

By Jala Tucker

Two Hampton university students traveled to Baltimore Friday, April 12 to inspire private high school students to attend a Historically Black College/University (HBCU).

During workshops at Roland Park Country School, an all-girls school in the north of the city, Jada Graham and Jala Tucker explained the value of an HBCU education and helped students with the personal statements on their applications.

About 25 students attended the workshop and said they wanted to apply to Morgan State, and Hampton, but most chose Howard, one of the top two highest-rated HBCUs in the country. About 10 students made progress on their applications.

"Even if we just make an impact on one student, I know we are doing something good," Graham said.

The workshop was part of a nonprofit, Project HBCU, created by Graham and Tucker, which specializes in giving students advice on college admissions.

The two entrepreneurs want students to understand their potential for higher education and hope to inspire them to travel outside of their comfort zones. Several students complained about the lack of opportunity in a small market like Baltimore.

The top reasons to go to an HBCU include "not having to be the voice for all Black people," Tucker told the students.

According to Tucker, typically, when black students go to Predominantly White Institutions, they are seen as the spokesperson for black people, since there are not as many black students to share their experiences. At an HBCU, students can freely have their voice without having the burden of representing the entire black community, the two explained.

A personal statement is the first step and one of the most critical parts of a college application.

"Show admissions who you really are in your personal statement," Tucker told them. "Make them want you at their school,"

The Revamping of True Branding

By Lindsay Keener

HAMPTON, VIRGINIA - Brand757, the student-run public relations company operating through the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications, has a problem. How does a company sell itself when it only has the promise of the future?

With no recent portfolio to show clients, Brand757 is re-organizing and selling itself on the skills of current student staff including writing, photography, video, social media management and lots of creativity.

A large portion of the rebranding will include forming teams and attracting new clients to build that much-needed portfolio.

Ironically, the top client of Brand757 is Brand757 because it needs an overhaul, said Michael Watkins, executive director (pictured above right). The second client is Scripps Comm Week in April. Events will include a Scripps Ball fundraiser. Brand757 will be responsible for programming and marketing.

Next semester, the agency plans to do pro bono work for some clients to add to the portfolio.

Most of the 20-some members are new, attracted by the idea of getting expeirence working at a student-run agnecy.

"Public relations has always been of great interest to me. Knowing that I'll get real world experience while I'm in college is amazing," said Taylor Harris, a third year strategic communications major from St. Louis, Missouri.

Brand757 has applied to be an official organization of Hampton University. That way students in other majors can join.

"The goal is to really open up Brand757 to other majors so that the club itself can tap into other resources," said Professor Reynolds, the agency's academic advisor.

Brand757 made its debut in 2015 with a public announcement on the Scripps website, but then lost momentum.Watkins said the problem was the small number of members.

The original announcement promised "full account teams, providing large and small businesses a full range of PR and brand services, such as media relations, collateral development, publicity, communications planning, social media, graphic design, web design, and event planning."

Today, students are taking Brand757 back to its roots.

"There's so much we have to work on as an organization," Watkins said. "We were on hiatus. Because of that we have to recreate who we are. We can't reach clients if we aren't established on campus."

After solidifying the agency as an official campus organization, executives are hoping Hampton University students across campus will see its value.

"Students who are majoring in other fields can grow their resumes and knowledge base," Reynolds said.

Brand757 members hope the new structure and expanded membership will help the company get new clients.

"Those would include IT companies, the Scripps Howard website and running WHOV's social platform," Reynolds said.

Those who join Brand757 must be willing to work their way up.

"The organization is structured around positions," Reynolds said. "Freshman and sophomores are in a shadow period, learning the ropes so they can reach the higher positions by the end of their academic career."

Then, Reynolds said, they must be willing to pass their wisdom along. The goal, Reynolds said, is for students to teach the incoming members to ensure the organization has longevity.

"You are creating your legacy within this organization and how it is going to be known across this campus, "Reynolds said.

Brand757 is on its way to becoming a stable organization in the Hampton Roads community. With solutions in place, agency members are confident they will make up for lost time. They are sold on Brand757.

HU students help middle-schoolers navigate the jungle

By Derrick Collins II

Camera phones flashed. Uncomfortably tightened braces adorned smiling white teeth. The aroma of crisp notebook paper and wooden pencils permeated the hall. The morning bell blared, signaling the start of the first day at Lindsay Middle School on Sept. 4.

Unbeknownst to the students, a surprise awaited just beyond the metallic blue doors. As each grade marched through the front entrance, Hampton University students were posted along the hallway to cheer them on, along with faculty and staff.

As parents and their eager sixth grade students burst through the doors, flooding the front entrance, they heard shouting: "Day by day, I wanna be a lion!"

The chant echoed through the yellow and blue brick halls, covered with murals of majestic lions, encouraging the young students to a jungle they will soon tame.

The event was sponsored by Hampton University's Greer Dawson-Wilson Student Leadership Training Program (SLP), and included Booker Elementary School and Lindsay and Benjamin Syms middle schools.

"I saw a light in those kids' faces," said Dr. Chevese Thomas, Principal of Lindsay Middle School. "Some of them don't get encouraged like this at home, so it really makes me feel good to see that they can look up to people like you."

Some staff and administration joined in with the chants. Assistant principal Mr. Deon Garner danced with the Student Leaders while cheering for the middle schoolers.

"It's a great thing you all are doing for these kids, we really appreciate you all," Garner said, before snapping a group picture with the student leaders.

Accompanying the students at Lindsay Middle School were a sea of parents and younger siblings, eager to watch the first day of middle school.

"The parents loved it," said senior Christian Caudle, the SLP student who organized the event. "They love recording moments like this and seeing that they have that older support from college students for their child."

Hampton junior Mia Luckett believes that being a positive example for the younger students may push them to want to succeed in school. Luckett was in the sixth grade hallway during the morning event.

"Hopefully us being there will let them know that school is a good thing," Luckett said. "I just want to make an impact on at least one kids' life."

3 Hampton U. students participate in Nation magazine conference

By Leondra Head

NEW YORK – Three Hampton University students represented the campus at The Nation magazine Student Journalism Conference, where students discussed how to cover politics and social movements with professional, award-winning journalists.

Kathryn Grant, Leondra Head and Alazja Kirk represented Hampton's Scripps-Howard School of Journalism and Communications on March 24, the only Historically Black College or University at the conference. These students said they enjoy learning innovative ways to enhance their reporting skills.

"The conference opened my eyes to a lot of new ideas," said Grant, a freshman from Houston. "Each and every person came from different places with different experiences and ultimately allowed me to learn from them through their success and mistakes. I learned a lot about how to report and how reporting on things that the audience does not already know shines an even brighter light on prevalent issues."

The one-day conference brought together 60 student journalists from across the nation from schools such as Columbia University, University of Florida, and the University of California at Berkeley.

The day started with a panel about how movements are responding to President Donald Trump and how to report on those social movements. The panel consisted of The Nation journalists Ari Berman, Julianne Hing, Sarah Jaffe and Emmy-Award winning journalist Collier Meyerson.

"I've reported on social movements and protests in response to Trump's presidency," said Meyerson. "Journalists must get the juice of the story by interviewing protestors who were a part of the movement. Knowing how to report during intense protests will make you all better journalists." taught me well about what to expect, so I was able to keep up with the fast pace of the program and excel."

Students also engaged in a sports movements panel where Dave Zirin, a sports editor for The Nation, discussed how to accurately cover athletes when speaking against social injustices. Zirin reported on NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he decided to kneel during the singing of the National Anthem when players were requested to stand during the patriotic song. Kaepernick publicly expressed his opinion on the social injustices African-Americans face.

"The media had a field day when Kaepernick sat down during the national anthem," said Zurin. "No one expects for an athlete to voice their concerns about social injustices because they can be blackballed." Zurin also expressed his concerns on how the media publicizes black athletes' wrongdoings more in comparison to white athletes. He said, "It's important as a journalist to accurately report the truth and hold to the same standard regardless of an athlete's race."

The day ended with students networking with each other over dinner in The Nation's ballroom. Students talked about what they had learned during the conference and how they can apply those things in the classroom once they return to their respective colleges.

"I significantly learned a lot on how to be a better journalist overall," said Samantha Smith, a graduate student at Columbia University. "I can now cover protests better that happen here in New York and be more confident when I go out into the field to report."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

More Entries